"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, April 28, 2008

Honoring Lapu Lapu

Calling it the first Asian victory against colonial aggression, Sen. Richard Gordon yesterday led ceremonies at the Rizal Park to commemorate the 487th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan and to honor the memory of Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero and the first Asian to successfully repel a colonial occupation force.

Gordon was joined by other dignitaries led by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Rep. Carissa Coscolluela, Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab and Director DJ Bagatsing of the Philippine Tourism Authority, Administrator Armand Arreza of the Subi Bay Metropolitan Authority, and the Red Cross, which Gordon heads.

Also present were officers of the Armed Forces and the national police, Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu of the Army, Rear Admiral Amable Tolentino of the Navy, Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo of the Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Joselito Aseniero of the PCGA and NCRPO police director Chief Supt. Geary Barias.

The celebration was also graced by Consul General Hong Sung Mog of the Republic of Korea and members of the Korea Freedom League, who donated the 40-foot Lapu-Lapu statue at the Rizal Park.

The 40-foot Lapu-Lapu statue was erected in 2003 by Gordon who secured a donation from the Korean Freedom League of P18 million. The statue was created by renowned sculptor and TOYM awardee Sajid Imao.

“Lapu-Lapu is personified in our national anthem by the verse ‘sa manlulupig di ka pasisiil’ and makes us proud to be Asia’s first to defeat a foreign invader. Lapu-Lapu should be an icon of our men in uniform who embodies the qualities of bravery, strength, honor, integrity and unwaivering principles,” Gordon said.

Garcia, who flew all the way from Cebu, said, “We in Cebu have our own festivities in honor of Lapu-Lapu. However, I recognize the significance of this event being held in the national park. The people of Cebu are grateful to Senator Gordon for his efforts in putting up the Lapu-Lapu monument here in our national park.”

“The Cebuanos deeply appreciate that Senator Gordon valiantly, courageously and patriotically fought to put Lapu-lapu in the national park. He has placed history in its proper place and the Cebuanos stand proud with him,” Garcia added.

Gordon, then Tourism secretary, fought for the construction of the Lapu-Lapu statue to honor the Visayan Muslim who was the first to thwart Spanish invaders on the island of Mactan in 1521.

Gordon has filed a bill proposing April 27 as a national holiday as Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu or Lapu-Lapu Day.

Gordon, Cebu gov recall victory at Mactan
People's Journal
April 28, 2008 07:07 PM Monday

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Teaching kids proper handwashing

Sen. Richard Gordon takes on a new task with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) — to teach children proper handwashing with soap so they can protect themselves against preventable diseases, especially during times of disaster and calamities.

In partnership with Safeguard, Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) leading anti-bacterial soap, Gordon is mobilizing the PNRC chapters nationwide to educate children on proper handwashing with soap as a way to protect themselves against five health threats — diarrhea, cough, colds, pneumonia and skin rashes. These diseases commonly spread in disaster areas and evacuation centers due to unsanitary conditions that people neglect to pay attention to during times of disasters.

Health partners Safeguard and the PNRC, together with the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) and Medical Wellness Association (MWA), launched the Protect 5 Handwashing Program with the “5-5-5” common mission — to teach five kids every hour for the next five years about proper handwashing to fight the five health threats.

“The handwashing program is a significant initiative as children are the most vulnerable to diseases in times of disasters and calamities. Arming them with the basic knowledge on how to protect themselves from preventable diseases is a noble undertaking that PNRC definitely wants to be a part of,” said Gordon.

The senator’s involvement in the campaign becomes even more relevant to him because of his affiliation with both Safeguard and PNRC. He was once the brand manager for Safeguard during his stint with P&G early in his professional career. At the same time, being a true blue PNRC worker, Gordon donated his full talent fee from the television advertisement that he did for Safeguard to the PNRC to sustain the organization’s operations.

Gordon leads Red Cross on its new task: teaching kids proper handwashing
Kidie Alert!


P&G: Safeguarding against common diseases

Sen. Richard Gordon cherishes his additional role as the newest endorser for Procter & Gamble’s nationwide campaign to promote proper hygiene to Filipino children.

“This has now brought me full circle in P&G,” the Zambales-born lawmaker points out.

Before he took up law practice and rose to political prominence as Olongapo mayor, Subic chief, Tourism Secretary and now as senator, Gordon worked at the local P&G unit, his first job after graduating from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Specifically, he was brand manager for Safeguard, the leading anti-bacterial soap in the country, which is at the forefront of the “Protect 5 Handwashing Program” currently being implemented by P&G, its long-time partner Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET), the US-based Medical Wellness Association (MWA) and the Philippine National Red Cross.

This time, Gordon, who appeared in the “Limang Banta” Safeguard TV commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJFGsldkZPc) for the campaign, pitched in in his capacity as Red Cross chairman.

“It was not too difficult for P&G to convince Sen. Gordon to agree with the partnership as he did it for the love of both Safeguard and Red Cross,” said Anna Legarda, brand PR manager for Safeguard.

“One reason is because he has an affinity with the company and the brand. In the early part of his professional career, Sen. Gordon worked for P&G and he once became the brand manager for Safeguard. For this reason alone, it was not such a difficult decision for him to say yes.”

The handwashing campaign aims to teach Filipino children the proper way of washing their hands to protect themselves against five common diseases caused by germs: diarrhea, cough, colds, pneumonia and skin rashes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has noted that common health problems such as these five diseases are at the root of over 80 percent of the incidence of illness worldwide.

However, studies have shown that frequent and proper handwashing with a good anti-bacterial soap is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to protect a person from these diseases. In fact, a study conducted by the US Center for Disease Control showed that the simple habit of proper handwashing with anti-bacterial soap can reduce the incidence of these diseases by up to 50 percent.

Safeguard’s handwashing program is anchored on the “5-5-5” mission: to teach five kids every hour for the next five years on proper handwashing as protection against the five common health threats.

As Red Cross chairman, Gordon is leading the agency in its new task of teaching Filipino children —particularly those in calamity-prone areas — the proper way to wash their hands.

He said their role is vital in the campaign as the common diseases mentioned easily plague disaster areas and evacuation centers due to unsanitary conditions that often prevail in these areas in times of disasters and calamities. Moreover, children are also the most vulnerable to these diseases.

And as a gesture of his genuine commitment to the Red Cross, Gordon also donated the full amount of his talent fee from the TV advertisement to the organization so it can sustain its social services.

By Conrado M. Diaz Jr.
Monday, March 31, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

US Senate Passes Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007, Filipino World War II Veterans To Get Pension

About 13,000 Filipino World War II veterans will soon receive $300 in monthly pension and benefits from the United States after its Senate passed the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 with a vote of 96 to 1. For some time, some senators had been stalling the bill’s passage on account that the Philippine Veterans law would cancel pension benefits to veterans who would choose to receive pension from the US.

Senator Richard Gordon in a few months successfully shepherded the passage of Senate Bill No. 142 amending Sec. 10 of Republic Act No. 6948 or “An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and their Dependents.” RA 6948, repeatedly referred to in the debates of the US Senate, previously forfeited the pension from the Philippine government should a similar pension be given by the US government.

At the Araw ng Kagitingan rites held in Mt. Samat on April 9, Gordon thanked Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her vocal support for more benefits for the veterans, and Representatives Carissa Coscolluela and Herminia Roman who co-authored the Lower House version of S.B. 142.

“We can only be honored to have played a part in securing what may be final victory for our
aging veterans. The US Senate’s passage of the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 finally settles a 60-year old question of honor and justice long denied to our veterans who are mostly now in their eighties. Certainly, the expected benefits will provide comfort in their waning years, but what matters really is the American government’s recognition of their heroism, valor and sacrifice,” said Gordon.

Gordon, on behalf of the veterans and their families, thanked US Senator Daniel Akaka, sponsor of the Senate bill, Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Bob Filner. Gordon was assisted by US Amb. Willy Gaa in his efforts to secure passage of the bill.

The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 expands the coverage of veterans’ benefits, including a program of insurance for service-connected disability, expanded eligibility for retroactive benefits traumatic injury protection coverage, housing benefits for those with severe burn injuries, and extension to two years of monthly educational assistance for apprenticeship and on-the-job training.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mindanao Railway Bill Hearing Suspended

Discussions on proposed legislation to create a railway system connecting several provinces in Mindanao were suspended Tuesday after government officials failed to provide sufficient information about the project’s viability.

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee on government corporations and public enterprises, suspended Tuesday’s public hearing after representatives of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) failed to answer his questions about the project’s feasibility.

Gordon asked for actual figures on how the proposed railroad system, which seeks to connect the cities of Cagayan De Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, General Santos, and Davao, would affect residents in the area, and proof that the project’s advantages would outweigh any disadvantages.

However, DoTC Undersecretary for Mindanao Railways Guiling Mamondiong admitted that he could provide the figures Gordon sought at present because the feasibility study on the railway system conducted by the agency is being revised and will not be out until June.

Gordon said he was "disappointed" at the officials’ failure to provide the statistics he sought and told them they should have prepared the data attending the Senate hearing.

"Dapat handa kayo pagpunta ninyo rito [You should be prepared when you come here]. You are not our enemy. We want you to help us craft the bill," Gordon said to the NEDA and DoTC officials at the hearing.

"You are the experts; act like the experts," he admonished.

Aside from suspending the hearing, Gordon also requested that officials from the Department of Trade and Industry be invited to the next hearing to answer questions on whether or not a railway system will help enhance trade in the target area.

Five measures providing for the creation of a corporation to own and operate a railroad and transportation system in Mindanao have been filed in the Senate. One of these bills, Senate Bill 2097, was filed by Gordon.

Gordon suspends Senate hearings on Mindanao rail system bill
‘You should be prepared,’ senator tells execs
First Posted 13:41:00 04/22/2008
Andreo Calonzo, Contributor

Probe COMELEC's failure to automate polls

The Commission on Elections needs to explain why it is still conducting elections manually 11 years after the poll automation law has been enacted, Senator Richard Gordon said Tuesday.

The chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws said he has called for a Senate inquiry into the matter Thursday.

Comelec has received billions of pesos for the automation of the elections, Gordon said.

"They lost P1 billion in the ID card, they lost P1.3 billion thrown out by the Supreme Court, they did not automate for the regular elections in 2007. They did not automate for the barangay (village polls) and promised to automate this time (for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and they did not again," he said.

Gordon said he could not expect the poll body to automate the 2010 presidential elections.

"If they don't have a practice session here, how can they automate? They will just say that they will not be able to implement in the whole country…I am not beyond their nasty surprises. They say this, they don't. This is really serious lying," he said.

He said an automated election would have assured the people of a clean and fast count.

Gordon reiterated his earlier proposition to simply lease and not buy new machines to count votes in the next elections.

Senator wants Comelec’s failure to automate polls probed
By Veronica Uy
First Posted 19:55:00 04/22/2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The fates seem to converge as Senator Richard J. Gordon paves the way for the Veterans to turn their dreams into reality on this very apt and timely occasion of the Araw ng Kagitingan, or the Day of Valor.

In celebration of the courage and dedication of our Veterans who risked life and limb to secure the very freedom which we enjoy today, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signs into law the Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits Act of 2008 to ensure that they will receive all the support from any and all nations which will want to reward them for their bravery and generosity. They are now assured that whatever benefits they are receiving now will not be revoked upon grant and receipt of benefits from other countries.

The law amends Sections 10 and 11 of Republic Act No. 6948, as amended, by removing the prohibition against our Veterans’ receiving benefits from the United States government. Before the law was signed, the Philippine government benefits of Veterans would be revoked once they were granted benefits by the United States government. Because of Senator Gordon’s advocacy and persistence, this prohibition is now eliminated, and our Veterans will now be able to receive any form of benefit from any foreign government without losing the benefits given to them by the Philippine government.

In June 2007, Senator Gordon met with United States legislators California Congressmen Robert Filner and Dana Rohrabacher, Hawaii Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, and Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who were known advocates of Filipino Veterans. The lawmen expressed their support for the passage of a legislative measure granting pension benefits to Filipino World War II Veterans and their surviving spouses now pending in the United States Congress. However, they likewise intimated their concern that upon the passage of this US bill, the benefits currently granted to our Veterans would be revoked, as provided under the pertinent laws of our country.

While that landmark legislative measure remains to be approved by the United States Congress, its passage is assured, provided that the benefits received by our Veterans and their heirs from the Philippine government shall not be withdrawn. Senator Gordon therefore took on the challenge of eradicating this obstacle which hindered the alleviation of the plight of our Veterans and their families.

Making good on his promise and delivering his end of the bargain in no time, Senator Gordon immediately filed Senate Bill No. 142 on 30 June 2007, which sought to amend the pertinent laws of the country to ensure that our Veterans and their heirs shall continue receiving their benefits from the Philippine government even if they were given similar or other benefits by other governments.

The legislative measure was passed on third reading in both houses in record time, with the help of Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon, chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, and House Representative Carissa O. Coscolluela, who sponsored the measure in the Lower House. The signing of this bill into law will then serve to encourage the United States Congress to pass its pending legislative measure that will restore the benefits granted to Filipino Veterans who fought side by side with their American comrades during World War II.

After a little more than nine months, Senator Gordon ushers in the birth of a new beginning for our Veterans. "On this momentous day, our Veterans get the assurance that they justly deserve, that they will not be short-changed by this government through the revocation of their benefits if they received others from foreign governments. Such is the least that we could do to alleviate their quality of life, especially considering that our World War II Veterans have not been able to fully enjoy the benefits due them until now, notwithstanding that they are now in their advanced age, weak, sickly and some dying. We attempt to pay back a huge debt of gratitude which we owe our Veterans because of the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives to protect and defend our country’s liberty, our very destiny and the destiny of the rest of the world".

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

RP still needs to import rice

In spite of billions of pesos spent by the government on increasing rice production to a level of self-sufficiency, the country still needs to import 15 to 20 percent of its rice needs.

"Save for a brief period where we actually exported rice, several administrations over three decades has been mouthing the words food self-sufficiency as tens of millions try to get by with just a few handfuls of rice, Senator Richard Gordon said.

"We have been pouring billions of pesos into land reform, agricultural productivity and food subsidy programs that have so far resulted in higher rice prices and people still going hungry. If we had a government that is really serious about solving our yearly rice supply problem, there will be no reason why we won’t be able to put an end to rice insufficiency in three years or less," he said.

He pointed out that even as the government struggles to cope with the real rice situation, there are indications that government funds being poured into food production and food subsidies are being eaten up by corrupt and wasteful practices.

"As chairman of the Senate Committee for GOCCs, I wouldn’t be beyond calling the NFA to the Senate or taking the Senate to NFA warehouses to check every page of their records. We might be spending R20 billion to give our people affordable rice. It is time to be really certain that we’re not just lining the pockets of a rice mafia. Kulang na nga ang bigas, baka nabuburiki pa," said Gordon, who pointed out a need to check on the possible misuse of government funds allotted to agriculture.

TEMPO 4/1/2008